Another strong season came to a disappointing conclusion for the Powell Panther boys’ soccer team after the No. 1-seeded Panthers lost both games at state — 2-1 to Douglas in the …
Another strong season came to a disappointing conclusion for the Powell Panther boys’ soccer team after the No. 1-seeded Panthers lost both games at state — 2-1 to Douglas in the quarterfinal and 3-2 to Green River in the consolation rounds.
DOUGLAS 2, POWELL 1
After a warm day in Green River, the Panthers (10-5) were not so lucky in the final game of the day against the No. 4-seeded Bearcats (7-8) after a thunderstorm rolled through — bringing cooler temperatures and windier conditions for the afternoon games.
The Panthers had a difficult start, when a long throw into the box did not clear and headed in to quickly give the Bearcats the 1-0 lead inside the first two minutes.
“They (long throws) are a difficult thing to deal with,” coach David Gilliatt said. “It’s basically a corner kick coming in from a better angle. We needed to deal with it like we would a corner.”
Powell had an answer early, when a quick corner bounced out to Steven Stambaugh, who dribbled his way into the box and slotted the ball into the net to tie the game 1-1 seven minutes in.
Both teams attacked, but were unable to find quality chances a majority of the time the remainder of the first half.
The long throw again came to sink the Panthers, when another was tossed into the box and bounced around before it was ushered in to make it 2-1 with five minutes left in the first half.
“Neither goal was spectacular but a goal is a goal,” Gilliatt said.
Powell continued to press in the second half to find an equalizer, but quality chances continued to go just wide or were saved by the Bearcat keeper.
The Panthers were unable to find an equalizer, and things went from bad to worse when center back Logan Jensen received a red card with five seconds left in the match.
“I’m not disappointed in them,” Gilliatt said. “We had to see what different things would work … Given what we had I thought we played great, unlucky with the score but it’s all right.”
GREEN RIVER 3, POWELL 2
The Douglas loss dropped the Panthers down to the consolation bracket to take on the 3A West No. 3-seed Green River (12-3 overall).
“I told them they had an hour to feel bad about that Douglas loss, let it sting, let it hurt then to let it go and get ready for the next day,” Gilliatt said. “That is really hard to do.”
The Panthers were without Jensen due to the red card and Colton Brewer who was unable to play due to injuries, needing to once again move around the squad to accommodate missing pieces.
Despite not being in the match that many anticipated to be the semifinal on Friday, both teams came out firing in the consolation semifinal.
Chance Franks scored a free kick just outside the box that snuck past the glove of the Wolves’ goalkeeper to give Powell a 1-0 lead just over two minutes in.
Green River answered 12 minutes into the game, after a strong shot just outside the 18-yard box took a deflection and found the back of the net to tie the game 1-1.
Powell regained the lead after a strong run by Will Jackson saved the ball, and his cross found Rem DeVries who used strong footwork to work an angle to sneak a left-footed shot under the Green River keeper and give Powell a 2-1 lead.
The Wolves answered before the half to tie it 2-2, and scored 13 minutes into the second half on a header from a corner to make it 3-2.
“Given what we had to work with I thought the boys played really well,” Gilliatt said. “Playing two tough opponents back to back is very challenging.”
Powell was unable to find an answer, finding a couple chances and hitting the post, but the Panthers couldn’t find the back of the net to tie the game.
That loss ended the Panthers’ season, the first time the Panthers have not played on Saturday at the state tournament since 2018.
A strong era for the Panthers is set to come to a close this year, as Powell graduates eight players from this year’s squad including three of four defenders, Holden Cooper in net, and multiple starting midfield and attacking options.
Powell finished this year as the 3A West Conference Champions for the first time in school history, something Gilliatt was pleased to walk away with.
“I think the boys punched above their weight,” Gilliatt said. “I think we outplayed some teams that had more talent than us.”
Powell is expected to return its leading scorer in Franks, along with several underclassmen who have shown growth in recent years.
Gilliatt said he expects the players will come out and continue to work over the summer during open field sessions that begin shortly after school ends, and grow heading into next year.
“We have a lot of work cut out for us in the offseason,” Gilliatt said. “Ultimately it will be up to those guys how much they want to get better.”